Over the past few years, the focus on Florida’s tourism industry and astronomical annual visitor rates has been overshadowed by marijuana. Headlines have captured the evolving regulations, mishaps of implementation, and political pandering to polarized camps of advocates. Since the 2016 passage of Amendment 2 (by an overwhelming 71% of Florida’s voters), the road to regulation has been bumpy. With the implementation of Senate Bill 8A, codified in Section 381.986 of the Florida Statutes, the requirements for new medical marijuana applicants has left many perplexed. Why is there a preference given to those applicants who utilize former citrus canning and processing facilities? What is the rational basis for limiting each medical marijuana licensee to 25 dispensaries? (The humor is not lost on me that such dispensary limitation expires on 4/20). When is the due date for medical marijuana license applications in Florida? Those with an eye on Florida all figured that we at least knew one thing- by October 3, the new licensees would be announced. But, like most hopes of certainty in the marijuana industry, that too was shot down when the head of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use just confirmed the state cannot meet that statutory deadline. Check back in for updates on how these major marijuana markets continue to evolve!
Despite half of the states in America having legalized marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, the divisiveness of the drug remains fully intact. Fear of federal criminal liability and stigmatization leave many on the periphery of what is the fastest growing industry in North America.